A recent update from Hong Kong recruitment executive projected that new crypto entrants could create more in-country employment opportunities. The report illustrated that around 150 crypto firms seek a Hong Kong license to operate as regulated entities.
According to the regulatory agency, the cost to acquire a virtual asset service provider (VASP) permit ranges from 20 to 200 million Hong Kong dollars. A local newsroom Foresight News report revealed that several crypto firms had incurred around $25 million to acquire the VASP license.
Suitability of Hong Kong Crypto Market
An official announcement conveyed by Sue Wei, a managing director at Hay, stated that as crypto firms strive to expand to the vibrant Hong Kong market, recruitment needs are now a top priority. Wei admitted that most Web3 firms expanding to the region were still in their early growth stages. The director expected more firms to open shops in Hong Kong, aiming to stimulate business growth.
In her report, Wei mentioned that the prolonged crypto winter negatively affected the recruitment industry. She confessed that following uncertainty in the crypto, the Hay Recruitment Agency experienced a decrease in firms seeking new technical talents.
Citing the recent “laid off en masse” in the crypto sector, Wei observed that most professionals were unwilling to work for firms offering digital assets and services. In an interview with some professionals, they lamented that the instability of the crypto sector forced them to be more reluctant to work for VASP. They argued that the crypto industry’s stability depends on the digital asset’s market prices.
In a subsequent post, human resource personnel at Cryptorecruit firm Neil Dundon argued that he had not witnessed many changes in the Hong Kong crypto industry. He admitted that even though the new rules have been introduced, the venture activities in the region are still low. However, Dundon remains optimistic that business activity will increase in the coming days.
Talent Shortage and Skill Gaps in Hong Kong
In a separate report, the managing director of Michael Page Hong Kong, Olga Yung, argued that despite the recent regulatory measures, more talents in the region will seek employment opportunities in the Web3 sector. He anticipates a modest increase in the number of Web3 firms seeking to recruit legal and compliance talent in Q2.
In support of Yung’s remarks, the founder of Proof and Search, a Web3 recruitment agency Kevin Gibson projected that it would take approximately six months for the number of professionals working in the crypto sector to increase. He noted that crypto talents have exited the Hong Kong workforce for the past few years.
After examining the existing workforce, Gibson noted a talent shortage in the crypto sector. He predicted that new crypto firms in Hong Kong would be in trouble due to the talent shortage and skill gaps.
The director advised the new entrant to create a full-time position to navigate the Hong Kong market easily. He projected that the talent squeeze would continue till next year.
Impact of Talent Squeeze
Gibson argued that the changes in the Hong Kong talent sector would inspire Web3 firms to establish their head offices in the region if they attain their intended purpose.
A scrutiny of the Hong Kong demographic illustrates the population growth rate has massively decreased since 2020. Despite the slow population growth rate in Q1 of 2023, employment opportunities increased by 38% from 2022.
Additionally, the employment statistic demonstrated that from mid-2021, the number of job opportunities drastically increased. Yung argued that the main challenge battling the Hong Kong talent sector is skill gaps in the crypto industry. He noted that following the uncertainty in the market, only a few are interested in crypto-related jobs.
A report from the chair of the FinTech Association of Hong Kong, Neil Tan, confirmed to have met several people who have shifted from TradiFi to the crypto sector. In his argument, Tan mentioned that crypto firms are approaching professions in the crypto industry. Tan outlined the recruitment approach, including LinkedIn platforms used by crypto firms to find suitable candidates.
He noted that the TradiFi sector has recently been reducing headcounts. This implies that the TradFi industry has become more undesirable. Tan mentioned that Web3 and crypto have gained momentum in the Hong Kong market.